Orca abandons body of her dead calf after 17-day journey

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Orca abandons body of her dead calf after 17-day journey

"J35 vigorously chased a school of salmon with her pod-mates in mid-Haro Strait in front of the Center for Whale Research for a half mile", they said.

Whale experts say they have seen orcas mourn their offspring before, but J35 clung to her calf for an unusually long period of time.

"Her tour of grief is now over and her behaviour is remarkably frisky", said a statement from the Centre for Whale Research.

An audio recording from earlier this month apparently featured the mother's "mournful and prominent" calls, Q13 Fox reported. Since then, J35 had carried the baby on her head for 17 days.

Mark Malleson, lead zodiac skipper with Victoria-based Prince of Whales Whale Watching, said he was shocked when spotting J35 towing her dead newborn near Sooke, B.C., in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off southern Vancouver Island. The female calf died after a few hours.

The 400-pound, orange-tinted baby that wriggled out of her that morning was the first live birth in the pod since 2015, Chiu wrote.

Balcomb said he also saw J50 with her mother and brother on Saturday, along with NOAA researchers who were following her to collect prey remains and feces. The mother, preventing her baby from sinking, had been nudging it toward the surface of the Pacific off the coast of Canada and the Northwestern United States. Unfortunately, the salmon has been in dramatic decline in recent years. It couldn't have been easy for her. Tahlequah's pod travels dozens of miles in a day, Chiu wrote, and she pushed her baby's hundreds of pounds every inch of the way. A scientist cried thinking of her. Tahlequah inspired politicians and essayists - and a sense of interspecies kinship in some mothers who had also lost children. "Now we can confirm that she definitely has abandoned it". There hasn't been a successful birth among the southern resident killer whales in three years. They anxious that the effort of pushing her calf - for about 1,000 miles - would make Tahlequah weak and keep her from finding enough food.

The chief culprit, researchers say, is there isn't enough salmon in the water to keep the orca population fit and healthy.

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